Thursday, November 6, 2008
My letter to Barack Obama
Just days after the election, the Obama campaign has set up a website asking what we would like to see change in the upcoming administration. You can see it here: http://www.change.gov/
Here's my lengthy submission:
When I saw that a younger, well-educated man was a presidential candidate, way back in the summer of this year, I thought, "I wonder if he will embrace the internet the way the rest of us have? Will he use it to communicate, promote transparency, and learn about the cultures that have developed in this new world?" When I saw the Obama Twitter feed, I knew he would. So first I'd like to congratulate the Obama staff for setting up this site! It's exactly what we need.
My vision for the country includes all people, especially those who have been poorly treated by the religious right. I believe everyone should have the same rights as a couple that straight people currently enjoy; I don't care if "marriage" is redefined as a solely religious concept, as long as everyone, gay and straight, can be united in the eyes of the law with all the benefits I currently enjoy as a married woman.
I hope that women will always have the right to choose their reproductive methods, and I'd like to see contraception made available at little or no cost to any fertile woman. Education should be provided to all young people as to the seriousness of raising kids, and how they can make an informed choice when and if to reproduce.
I'd like to see more support for the arts, no matter if they are controversial or popular, and more emphasis placed on educating kids to be creative and confident, not just popular and conforming.
And schools should also include mandatory courses on critical thinking, so all American citizens have the tools to make decisions for themselves. Education should be one of our first and largest priorities, and even though I do not have children, I would never object to paying more of my income towards a more educated America.
I believe religion should be completely separate from government, and while everyone should have the right to choose and practice their religion, that choice should at no time affect my right to be free of religion.
I would like to see protections for animals wherever possible, because unlike humans, they often have no choice in how they are housed and treated. Animal testing is often necessary in the sciences, and some animals do indeed taste good, but we have to take every step to ensure that they do not experience pain or fear or disabling forms of breeding while we are caring for them.
I believe that homelessness is a serious problem, and is closely tied to a lack in mental health care for a large segment of the population. I'm not sure how this can be solved, but it's time a serious effort was put into determining how we can help the mentally ill who cannot care for themselves.
Personal privacy needs to be a constant goal of the government; inappropriate wiretapping and internet monitoring must be ended. Corporations must also be responsible for protecting the privacy of their customers.
Finally, I thank you so much for taking the time to make this site available. I couldn't believe it, the night the election results were announced; we were so very happy to hear that all we'd hoped for was true. That night, my husband and I both decided that since this country finally had lived up to our dreams, we would put more effort into doing whatever we can to pay it back. We will be donating more than ever to our favorite charities this year, and into finding ways we personally can make a difference in the lives of people with less than we have.
Thank you, thank you for caring. I'm sorry this is so long, but I do care, too, and I truly believe that this administration can make the changes that have been so long in coming.
P.S. Please consider a rescued dog from a shelter for First Dog! Inbreeding is a big problem among purebred dogs, and setting a good example by adopting a shelter dog would be a perfect example to set for all those other dogs.
(Signed, Mina - Sonya's rescue dog and best friend)